Top 10 R.E.M. Releases: Part I (10-6)

R.E.M. is one of my all-time favorite bands, so, for today’s article, I thought I’d start counting down my picks for their ten best releases.

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Top 10 TV Series of All Time: Part II

Last week, I presented the first half of my top ten television series of all time. This week, I will be highlighting numbers 5 through 1 on my list. As I said before, this is my personal opinion only. First, I will present some honorable mentions.

  • Game of Thrones
  • Mad Men
  • The Wire
  • Dexter

Now, without further ado, here are what I consider to be the five best television series ever made.

5. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit


Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is a particularly unique entrant on this list. Firstly, I would argue that it is far and away the greatest spinoff in television history. Virtually every other spinoff I have ever seen has been frankly insulting to the original show from which it was spawned. However, SVU outshines the original Law and Order in ways that can’t be understated. The cast, the stories, the character development, everything about SVU is magnificent. The iconic status that this show has reached can be demonstrated very simply. Approach nearly anyone (particularly people ages 13-30) who watches television regularly and say the words “In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous,” and there is an astronomical chance that they will be able to recite the remainder of the show’s introduction flawlessly. I generally find myself drawn more toward shows focusing on the other side of the law, but SVU is just so good that it has to be mentioned on this list. Even through all of the cast changes over the years, SVU is still the greatest police drama ever made and is more than deserving of a place on this list.

4. Friends 


I don’t want to hear about The Office. I don’t want to hear about Seinfeld. I don’t want to hear about Arrested Development. Friends is the greatest comedy series ever made. The story of six friends in their mid to late 20’s trying to find their way in life in New York City is both compelling and hilarious. I think, to some extent, that every group of friends can relate to at least one of the show’s characters, as well as the group as a whole. That sense of relatability is part of what makes Friends so great. The show premiered 24 years ago and is arguably just as iconic now as it was back in 1994. Although there are a few storylines that do not age particularly well, Friends has maintained its popularity in ways that no other TV show ever has. It will continue to bring laughs and joy to more and more generations to come.

3. The Sopranos


Before I start, I must confess that I have not watches all of The Sopranos like I have all of the other shows on this list. However, I am currently on the 4th season and I can say, with absolute certainty, that it is deserving of at least a top 3 spot. The impact of The Sopranos on television is unparalleled, in the sense that it started the popularity surge in the anti-hero. Tony Soprano is the original Walter White, Don Draper, Dexter Morgan, etc. What I love most about the ensemble of characters in the show are their complexities. Not a single character on this show is one-dimensional. They all have their own agendas, their own shortcomings, and their own sense of their own humanity. The Sopranos doesn’t glamorize mob life. Instead, it presents all sides of it: the violence, the money, the delicate balance between the Mafia family and the family at home. Everything about this show is great. I already know how it ends and I can definitively say that it is both terrible and brilliant. Watch the show and you will understand. It really is a must see.

2. The West Wing

west wing.jpg

I spent more time than I care to admit deciding if The West Wing was going to be number one or number two. Ultimately, it just barely lost out. That does not, however, take anything away from the show’s greatness. As far as political dramas go, it will never get any better. The West Wing is hands down the best written television series of all time. The witty and genuine dialogue goes unmatched in the world of TV. The show is driven by the strong performances of both the main and secondary cast. The show’s driving plot lines center on real world issues and the people trying to solve these issues, making the show that much more compelling. For some reason, I have found that a lot of people have never seen this masterpiece of a show. I urge anyone who hasn’t yet seen it to find the time and watch it. You absolutely will not regret it.

1. Sons of Anarchy 


If Tony Soprano was the original anti-hero, then Jax Teller is the ultimate anti-hero. The son of the founder of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Jax Teller is forced to balance out his role as a leader of a violent motorcycle gang with his role as a new father. The story of Sons of Anarchy draws heavy inspiration from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The show does an outstanding job of using subtle foreshadowing mixed with great, intense dialogue and heavy amounts of violence to create a story unlike any other ever put to television. The ending of Sons is what I consider the single most artistically beautiful ending to a television show ever. The deeps symbolism is the kind of thing someone like me, who loves to look for the deeper meaning in everything, lives for. Simply put, Sons of Anarchy is the greatest television series of all time.

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t read part one of the series yet, check it out here.

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

Top 10 TV Series of All Time: Part I

A few weeks ago, I wrote a two part series on what I consider to be the 10 best movies of all time. Given how much I enjoyed writing that piece and the fair amount of success it had, I have decided to do a similar series on my 10 favorite television series of all time. Similar to my previous series, the first week will feature 10-6 on my list, as well as an honorable mention. Week two will feature numbers 5-1, as well as a list of other shows I felt could have been in contention. This list excludes shows like The Daily Show, mainly because they are not really TV series. Please note that all opinions in this piece are my own. Just because your favorite show isn’t on here, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad (although, it very well might be).

Honorable Mention: House of Cards


If I had made this list a year ago, House of Cards would have been number one, without a shadow of a doubt. In my opinion, it is most likely the best story ever created for the small-screen. The complexity of the characters and the phenomenal writing create something that has never been, and very well may never be, replicated. I have seen the entire series to-date a total of 5 times. I absolutely love it. However, after the Kevin Spacey scandal, I feel that the show simply lost a lot of its appeal. I tried to re-watch the series again after the scandal and it just didn’t feel the same. The psychopathic tendencies of Spacey’s Frank Underwood just felt all too real to have any legitimate entertainment value. With that being said, the show itself is amazing and deserves mention on any list of this nature.

10. Burn Notice burnn.jpg

Although it is probably the least recognizable show on this list, Burn Notice was spectacular during the entirety of its 7 season run. The show is centered around a blacklisted spy who attempts to reassemble his life by connecting with old friends, as well as old enemies, from his past. Interesting characters and witty dialogue, as well as over the top action sequences make this show truly memorable. The series finale holds a place among the all time greats and I feel that Burn Notice is more than deserving of a place among the most underrated television series of all time.

9. Friday Night Lights

friday night lights

I cant say enough about this show. Friday Night Lights is the best sports-based TV drama of all time. However, it is also so much more than that. The show provides a deep look into the trials and tribulations of adolescence, particularly in small-town America. FNL took a concept that could have grown very repetitive very quickly and turned it into a show that always felt fresh and new. If you exclude the god-awful murder storyline (I seriously have no idea what the hell that was), the show absolutely never misses its mark. The relatability of a show about growing up in a small, high school football crazed town makes the show truly appealing and I think that is what makes the show so popular. It is definitely something to add to your list if you’ve never seen it.

8. 24


Growing up, I thought 24 was the absolute best that television had to offer. Now, in my early 20’s, I still think that it is definitely up there. Each season of this thriller takes place in a single day (hence the name 24) of the life of government agent Jack Bauer. I have to say, this man has some eventful days. Kiefer Sutherland is one of my absolute favorite actors and he does a masterful job of portraying the immensely patriotic, heavily flawed, and extremely lethal Bauer. Sutherland is supported by an ensemble of very interesting secondary characters and an always interesting array of storylines that keep the show interesting. 24 is a must watch for any fan of thrilling drama series.

7. Breaking Bad

breaking bad.jpg

I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably something along the lines of “how could you put Breaking Bad so low on the list? It should be number 1!”. I have to confess something. I didn’t like Breaking Bad as much as everyone else seemingly did. At some point in the future, I will detail all of the issues I have with the show. For the purposes of this list, I will instead focus on the good. The early seasons of the show are some of the best television ever produced. The character development is indescribably good and the tension some of the show’s scenes create is unparalleled. Breaking Bad absolutely deserves a place among the giants of television. Its merit can not be questioned. Number 7 is a fitting place, in my opinion.

6. Avatar: The Last Airbender 


Avatar: The Last Airbender is the absolute high-point of Nickelodeon. SpongeBob couldn’t hold a candle to this masterpiece. Growing up, Avatar was my favorite show. I think a lot of the beauty of the show is its wide appeal. I remember my mom being genuinely invested in the show and even enjoying it almost as much as I did. A few years ago, I re-watched the entire series again and found it to be just as enjoyable as it was when I was a kid. Watching Aang, the show’s protagonist, slowly develop into his immensely important role in the show’s universe is incredible to watch and the story is told flawlessly. I will almost certainly go to my grave pondering the fate of  Zuko’s mother. A show has to have a real impact to create a mental dilemma like that. Although it is an animated series with a much younger target audience than the other shows on this list, Avatar: The Last Airbender is an epic series that anyone, regardless of age, can enjoy.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to come back to Mid-American Culture next Wednesday to see Part II of the series. In the meantime, check out some of the other great content from our writers!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

Top 10 Led Zeppelin Songs That AREN’T On Mothership

Led Zeppelin was one of the first rock bands I ever got seriously into. My first true exposure to the legendary group, besides when the occasional song would play on the radio, was their greatest hits compilation, Mothership. And while Mothership is an amazing compilation that highlights most of the band’s great songs, there are still many classic Zeppelin tunes that don’t get enough credit. So, today, I thought I’d countdown my top 10 favorite Zeppelin tracks that aren’t on their mega-compilation, Mothership.

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The Most Essential Kraftwerk Songs

I’ve been on a massive Kraftwerk kick lately, so, for today’s article, I thought I’d share some of their tracks that I think are great for someone who’s not too familiar with the group to get their feet wet with. So, let’s dive right in!

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